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2017 in focus: What to expect from the UAE

Dubai UAE

If you’re glad to see the back of 2016 then take heart: 2017 should be a pretty good one in terms of big UAE announcements. Earlier this week, we looked back on the achievements that the UAE had made in terms of mega-projects, and today, we’re looking forward to the launches that will make headlines in 2017.

Whether you’re gearing up for a safari ride this year, or want to simply kick back in the lap of luxury, 2017 in the UAE should be a good year for everyone. Check out our list of the things we’re most looking forward to in the UAE this year.

Dubai Frame

Dubai Frame

Originally slated for completion in 2015, the Dubai Frame (that large, rectangular structure by Zabeel Park) has progressed slower than expected. That said, we should be nearing a launch date – in November, Dubai Municipality said that work had almost been completed, and though no further details have been given, there’s a decent chance that the Frame will open sometime this year. With an elevator that will lead to a viewing platform, Dubai Frame will offer great views of old Dubai (the Creek and Deira) on one side, and spectacular vistas of new Dubai (Downtown and Sheikh Zayed Road) on the other.

Ain Dubai Ferris Wheel

Ain Dubai 

If you’ve been to Jumeirah Beach Residences lately, you’ll no doubt have noticed the enormous structure being erected at the end of Dubai Marina. That’s Ain Dubai, or as it was known up until last summer, the Dubai Eye Ferris Wheel. Students of the Arabic language will know that Ain Dubai translates to Dubai Eye, so we can see the logic there.

Anyway, construction belatedly started in 2015, and was slated to take about two years to complete, meaning we should get to see Ain Dubai open sometime in 2017. In true Dubai fashion, it’ll be the biggest Ferris wheel in the world, taking passengers 210 metres high. And once you’re riding in one of the pods, you’ll get plenty of time to savour the views – a full rotation of the Ferris wheel will take 48 minutes.

What’s more the Ain Dubai will be the centerpiece of the AED 6 billion Bluewaters Island development, which will obviously come with its fair share of hospitality, residential and entertainment attractions.

Dubai Safari

Dubai Safari

This was another project due to be launched in 2016, but Dubai Safari has been pretty upfront about why its opening has been delayed. The park, due to replace the ageing Dubai Zoo, will cover 119 hectares of land, and is being built to be something akin to South Africa’s Kurger National Park. That means it’s less of a zoo and more of a wildlife conservation area. Built at a cost of AED 1 billion, Dubai Safari insists that its animals will be homed in as natural a habitat as possible, and that all the animals have either been donated from other zoos or have been rescued from private captivity. Indeed, it’s supposed to be a home for animals that can’t be returned to the wild – for whatever reason. All in all, there’ll be over 10,000 animals to see.

Marina 101 Dubai

Marina 101

Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016, the Marina 101 tower is on the cusp of opening. Why should you care? Well, it’ll be the second-tallest building in the UAE, and the tallest residential building in the world. The first 33 floors of the 101-storey building will be filled by the five-star Hard Rock Hotel, while the floors above will be residential apartments. With exterior work now complete, Marina 101 tops out at 426 metres tall.

Museum Future Dubai

Museum of the Future

The Museum of the Future is an initiative launched last year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The idea is for the futuristic-looking building to house the world’s most innovative creations, and have it serve as a hub for innovative thinking. The museum is being built near Jumeirah Emirates Towers, and is expected to cost $200 million. While no concrete completion date has been set, it’s expected that the museum will open later this year.

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